The 2020 coronavirus pandemic quickly created conditions for a national appliance shortage last year, and it continues one year later. Experts have long been seeing how the pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of a supply chain spread out across the world.
On the demand side, home sales are swift, and homebound families have been renovating, upgrading, or just wearing out appliances faster by using them more often. However, on the supply side, global factory closures due to COVID outbreaks have created intermittent shortages of crucial appliance parts when there has been a high demand for raw materials.
Dishwashers, wall ovens, and refrigerators are extremely tight at the moment, and the lower, more affordable end of many brands are really tough to find because manufacturers are focusing on more pricer models that net higher profit margins. Freezers got hit first very early in the pandemic as fearful consumers stocked up on meat and other items they wanted to freeze. But refrigerators got scarce shortly after as schools and offices closed, and availability issues with other appliances soon followed suit.
Some builders have reported that appliances have been on backorder for several months, and although the appliance problem is affecting builders large and small, it is not quite as bad among smaller builders for some reason. In addition, there are facing issues obtaining lumber and other building materials as well.
Suppliers have told stores that manufacturers are seeing shortages in stainless steel, which is a major component of appliances, and insulation that is used in refrigerators.
Just be aware, that these days, stores know ordering an appliance or new piece or furniture or furniture set — the new timeframe is typically at least 3-4 months up to 6-8 months. If you needed to buy appliances today, and ship them immediately, it would be very difficult if not impossible, no matter which big box store or small appliance business you visited. Some appliances are more difficult to get in stock than others according to the experts. Appliances like side by side refrigerators and French doors are very difficult to find, even with forecasts and predictions, they are just difficult to get.
For now, stores have some advice for shoppers:
1. Definitely always shop around, not only to price-compare, but also to find out average wait and delivery times.
2. Ask lots of questions for every appliance interested in, and ask those same questions at every store too.
In fact, manufacturers predict the next item that will see a price increase are flat screen TVs. The really long wait times and limited appliances are attributed to many factors, like COVID stalling manufacturing. The price of raw materials has also increased, up to 20%. And manufacturers all agree that prices won’t stop climbing or stay increased until 2022.